Sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted from one person to the other through sexual activity, these include anal, vaginal or oral. The rate of sexually transmitted diseases and rape, especially of the underaged (child rape) has become a major public health challenge in Nigeria.
Some STDs have no cure, and only symptoms can be treated; others may be cured with a simple course of antibiotics (for bacterial infections). Contrary to popular belief, these infections cannot be transmitted from toilet seats.
Some of the most common STDs in Nigeria are:
- Gonorrhea: It is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. There are more than 1.5 million cases of gonorrhea in Nigeria per year. The bacterial infection often only presents symptoms in men and is one of the easiest STIs to prevent by practicing safe sex. It also affects women and can be transmitted from mother to baby by pregnancy, labor, or nursing. Gonorrhea can lead to difficulty in becoming pregnant and even infertility if the fallopian tubes get damaged or blocked. It can be treated with antibiotics.
- HIV/AIDS: Known as Human Immune Virus / Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome, HIV/AIDS is a common disease with more than 100,000 cases per year in Nigeria. Between 2.6 to 4.5 million people are living with HIV in Nigeria. Infection results in the progressive deterioration of the immune system, breaking down the body’s ability to fend off some infections and other diseases. HIV is spread mainly by having anal or vaginal sex or sharing injection drug equipment, such as needles, with a person who has HIV. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the use of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection.
- Trichomoniasis: Trichomoniasis is caused by trichomoniasis vaginalis. More than 1.5 million cases per year in Nigeria. Symptoms include foul-smelling vaginal discharge, genital itching and painful urination in women. Men rarely have symptoms but if they do, it includes discharge from the penis.
- Candidiasis: It affects up to 3 out of 4 women at some point in their lifetimes. Many women experience at least two episodes. Candidiasis is an infection caused by a yeast called Candida. Candida normally lives inside the body (in places such as the mouth, throat, gut and vagina) and on skin without causing any problems. They can multiply and cause an infection if the environment changes in a way that encourages its growth. It causes irritation, discharge and intense itchiness of the vagina and the vulva. It is usually treated with antifungal medicine. Sexual contact can spread it, but women who aren’t sexually active can also get them. Once you get a yeast infection, you’re also more likely to get another one. It is usually treated with antifungal medicine.
- Syphilis: It is a rare disease with fewer than 100,000 cases per year in Nigeria. As the early stages of this bacterial infection may go undetected, the prevalence of Syphilis in Nigeria has increased over the years. It is essential to get tested, as it eventually attacks your heart, brain, and internal organs. Syphilis is caused by the bacteria, Treponema pallidum and it starts as a painless sore. It can be transmitted from mother to baby by pregnancy, labor or nursing.
Common symptoms of STDs include:
- Itching, burning, or inflamed genitals
- Painful urination
- Genital discharge
Prevention of STDs
- Practicing safe sex, using latex condoms reduces your chance of infection.
- Getting tested to know your sexual history and that of your partner. The more partners you have, the greater your risk of contracting an STI.
- Immunization against certain infections, such as hepatitis B or HPV.
If left untreated, some infections can lead to cancer, liver conditions, infertility, and pregnancy complications with possible birth defects. Do you need to speak to someone about your sexual health problems? Call Healthboxes on 09091111129 or 08097560000 today.